Movie Review: Kingsman 2’s a Killer Ride

Movie Review: Kingsman 2’s a Killer Ride
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins has been a reporter with Oakville News since 2016. Covering local news and live events, he specializes in film, theatre, and entertainment. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. Tyler is a proud graduate of Journalism and Performing Arts from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Speed, luxurious design and a pulse-pounding edge all ooze from Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It’s an action spy comedy that’s action-packed, smooth, and disturbingly funny. The only trouble is it delivers exactly what audiences are expecting, and then has nothing more to offer.

It’s all too much. An overlong runtime and totally implausible action bits have robbed the grounding to Director Matthew Vaughn’s stylish spy franchise. This epic follow-up to his 2015 surprise hit has all the wit and style of its predecessor. It’s just without the intelligence and spark.

The sequel has amplified every characteristic of Kingsman: The Secret Service, both good and bad. The worst of which is the harshness of some action scenes. Sure it’s slick and well shot – it’s not even graphic or gory.

But the death count is astronomically high. There’s a fine line in spy combat between gleeful comedy and dark, psychological violence.

Golden Circle follows an older, better trained Eggsy (Taron Egerton) traveling to Kentucky in search of the Statesman secret agents. With their help, he and Merlin (Mark Strong) must solve the mystery behind a missile targeting their native Kingsman spies and a blue virus infecting drug users around the world.

Vaughn knows how to craft action, spy, epic, and excess. What he’s forgotten here is how to edit, and it’s a critical downfall. Shorter scenes, fewer cartoon-like villains and some dramatic discipline would have created the crispness that made the first movie so charming.

Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Most of the cast is brimming with panache and precision. Shallow action and spy comedies only succeed when the characterizations are as strong as they are here. Especially so is the parade of winning cameos, ranging from Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges as the Statesman bosses to Elton John in a hilarious surprise appearance. (And the return of a certain Swedish princess!)

Julianne Moore’s supervillain Poppy is most disappointing, and a sad example of a committed performance directed ineffectively. Similar to Charlize Theron’s Cypher earlier this year in The Fate of the Furious, Moore plays the villain with such an annoying voice and murderous zeal she’s painful to watch from beginning to end.

Fans of the franchise will have the most fun spending more time with the returning ensemble. And in the spies subgenre, this cast is riotously likable. Unfortunately, this same audience will be the most discouraged by the number of popular and well-crafted characters who are killed in this second installment.

To give an example – if you, as a viewer, had a strong emotional response to Harry (Colin Firth’s) sudden death in the first movie, Golden Circle is going to be a tumultuous evening at the cinema.

When all is said – is this Kingsman worth seeing? There’s no easy answer. I was giddy and invested by the film from start to finish, even through the most preposterous stakes and clearly stylized events. I’d suspect most audiences will have just as much fun, too.

The Golden Circle is a rare case where I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend it as an exciting, edgy night at the movies full of Hollywood zing – even though the final product is flawed, extreme, and mismatched movie.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
2 out of 4 stars

14A, 141 minutes. Action Spy Comedy Epic.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Mark Strong and Channing Tatum.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill, and Cineplex Oakville and VIP.


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